PHILADELPHIA – October 23, 2023 – A poll commissioned by the Middle East Forum finds overwhelming support among nearly all sectors of the Israeli public to eliminate of Hamas.
When asked the question "what should Israel's primary objective" be in the forthcoming war, 70 percent of respondents answered "eliminate Hamas." In contrast, 15 percent answered "secure the unconditional release of captives held by Hamas" and 13 percent answered "disarm Hamas completely." Revealingly, 54 percent of those who said they voted for the Arab party in the last election also favored eliminating Hamas.
"It is clear the public is calling overwhelmingly for the elimination of Hamas; nothing short of that will be considered a victory," notes Nave Dromi, director of the Middle East Forum's Israel Office. "The decision-makers now have the statistics to demonstrate where the citizens of Israel stand on these issues; Israelis call on them to act accordingly."
When poll respondents were given the option of launching a ground operation in Gaza to eradicate Hamas or avoid a ground operation and find another way to deal with Hamas, 68 percent chose a ground operation and 25 percent the latter solution.
On the issue of international pressure, when respondents were asked about how much Israel should take into consideration its foreign allies, 43 percent responded that Israel must consider the perspectives of allies, particularly the United States, on security matters, while 55 percent responded that Israel should ignore external demands and make its own security decisions.
When asked, "Which do you see as key mistakes leading to the catastrophic failure on October 7?" with more than one answer permitted, 27 percent replied, "a military that relies too much on defensive measures," 29 percent replied "poor intelligence capabilities," 49 percent responded "misconduct by the political echelon," and 29 percent replied "the wrong 'concept' about Hamas."
There were mixed responses on the "day after" question. When asked "Who, in your opinion, should rule Gaza after the overthrow of the Hamas regime?" 24 percent said Israel, 24 percent said "new leadership in Gaza," 22 percent replied the Palestinian Authority, and 19 percent the Arab states.
The idea of making concessions to the Palestinians in exchange for normalization with Saudi Arabia finds little favor. When asked, "If Saudi Arabia demands significant concessions to the Palestinian Authority by Israel as the price for formal ties, should Israel agree to these?" 72 percent of the Israeli public said no, 21 percent said yes.
The poll, the widest and most in-depth on the Israeli public's attitudes towards issues relating to the war on Israel, was conducted by Shlomo Filber and Zuriel Sharon through Direct Polls Ltd on October 17, 2023. 1,086 adult Israelis (over the age of 18) were sampled with a statistical sampling error of 4.0 percent.
The Middle East Forum, a non-profit organization, promotes American interests in the Middle East and protects Western civilization from Islamism. It does so through a combination of original ideas, focused activism, and funding allies. For more information, visit www.meforum.org.
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